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Keftes de Prassa: Leek Patties

Happy New Year, L'Shana Tova, to all who are celebrating!

Foodie Lit

Leek patties (1).jpeg
Acts of Faith.jpg

The Inquisition kept careful records of its arrests, tortures and auto da fé’s, burning at the stake of the Catholic Church's heretics. In their records over hundreds of years, across many countries, the story of Diego Lopes was unique. The Church and witnesses recorded that Diego, brought to the stake in Coimbe, Portugal, simply disappeared. The Church attributed Diego’s vanishing to the Devil. Thousands of witnesses declared it a miracle, the Jews among them. God had rescued His own.

Martin Elsant was intrigued. He wrote his historical novel, Acts of Faith, to create his own theory. Like Houdini, aka Erik Weisz, in Martin’s view, Diego was a very successful escape artist. Now I was intrigued.

Keftes de Prassa


Yield 25 patties


2 medium potatoes, peeled or unpeeled

2 tablespoons olive oil or more if needed

2 pounds leeks, rinsed and sliced

6 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and sliced or 1 pound ground beef, lamb or chicken

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1 tablespoon celery leaves, finely chopped

2 large eggs, beaten

1/2 - 1 cup breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground pepper

1 lemon, cut into slices



  1. Thinly slice potatoes. Boil potato slices until easily pierced with fork. Drain and let cool.

  2. Add oil and sliced leeks to a hot skillet over medium heat. Cook until leeks are softened and liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Remove and reserve.

  3. Add mushrooms to pan with no additional oil and sauté until liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are slightly browned. Add garlic. Stir a few times in the skillets. Cool.

  4. Pulse leeks a few times in food processor. Add cooled potatoes and pulse until the mixture is coarse. Add mushrooms, parsley and celery leaves and pulse a few more times until mixed. Transfer to a large bowl.

  5. In a small bowl, beat eggs, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, paprika, salt and pepper. Add to potato-leek mixture. Add more breadcrumbs if mixture doesn’t hold together. Cover and let cool in refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

  6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Form patties with your hands, using  2 tablespoons for a side portion or 1 tablespoon for hor d’oevres. Add more bread crumbs if needed.

  7. Cover bottom of pan with oil. Turn heat onto medium high. When oil is hot, drop patties into pan, press lightly with spatula to flatten, cooking over medium heat for about 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Do not crowd patties in pan. Drain on a plate or pan lined with paper towels. Serve with a wedge of lemon.

  8. If you wish to freeze the cooked patties, cool and then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in freezer. Freezing the patties this wah keeps them nicely separate in a freezer bag. After about 1 hour, place patties in zip lock bag or bags. When ready to serve, reheat in a 350 F oven for 30 minutes or until hot.

Expandthetable suggestions

Keep it Gluten Free: Use gluten free breadcrumbs

Add meat: Instead of mushrooms, use 1 pound ground beef, lamb or chicken

Kosher for Passover: Use Matzah Meal instead of breadcrumbs

#vegetarian, #Jewish New Year, #Sephardic

Adapted from Keftes de Prasa recipes by Leah Hadad and by Gil Marks, as printed by Tori Avey

Leek Patties, or Keftes de Prassa, are a traditional Sephardic part of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, meal. Originally from Spain and Portugal, after the Expulsion from Spain in 1492, Sephardic Jewish communities joined other Jewish communities around the Mediterranean and in the Middle East.


Keftes can be served an appetizer, a side dish or even main course. I used mushrooms here, but ground beef, lamb or chicken can be used as well. To save time, make the night before, refrigerate and cook the next day. The patties freeze well, so make extra for a great lunch to go. My mom liked it with apple sauce; I liked a squirt of lemon. The crispy outside makes the patties a treat for all.

Recipe is below.

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